Across Africa, the incoming ALA class of 2020 are already implementing impactful and innovative solutions to the challenges the global pandemic has brought upon their home communities. Yesua-Amen Alleluyanatha-Anozia ’20 from Nigeria and Adayé Sosthène Yvan N’Guettia ’20 from Cote D’Ivoire have focused their work on tackling education access in their respective home countries.
Yeshua-Amen shares his/her inspiring story below:
The Corona virus pandemic that started last year and continues to impact and change our lifestyle has not been without consequences for Africa and Nigeria in particular. Several students from local public and private schools, especially those in exam classes (grade 09 and grade 12) have found themselves having to stop classes and continueonline. However, many of these students did not have sufficient resources and means to access these remote courses to prepare for their year-end exams.
Having identified this problem and being determined to change things, from May through August 2020, I was involved in administrative and facilitating functions of a continuous learning program set up by my family in collaboration with my mum’s NGO, Livingstones Off The Street Initiative. In this program, my task was to organize the daily activities and gathering information from different sources. In the beginning, we didn’t have volunteering teachers to help our students in their online classes, so I was also dedicated to teaching English, Ethics, and Maths. When we were finally able to engage some teachers, I helped to connect students via zoom to the volunteering teachers while continuing to give my classes. Additionally, I was the community manager of the Instagram page of Livingstones and I designed the social media communications about the program, shared pictures of our activities in order to inform and gathered potential donors to our initiative.
We started with twelve students at the beginning, but within 16 weeks we quickly grew the program to 70 participants. The program was so successful that the students have urged us to open an accredited school so that they do not have to return to their previous schools. This is an idea my parents and I are exploring in order to make sure that disadvantaged students have access to the education they deserve. At the end of the program the students gained self-confidence, confidence in speaking, they acquired self-directed learning skills, and above all they have been able to do well in their exams.
When asked about how Livingstones has impacted their life, here are some comments of the students who attended:
“The Livingstone Initiative has been created as a center to educate future leaders as a continuous lesson. To me it was not just a continuous lesson. It was a lesson where we learnt how to achieve success”
-Anthony Angela, Grade 09
“Thanks to Livingstones, I am now proud of myself that I am solving mathematicsproblemsbecause I hated maths a lot but the lesson helped me to love maths.”
-Ogunyemi Oyindamola, Grade 12
“These lessons taught me to be a person of integrity and it taught me to help myself by going the extra mile.”
-Margaret Ogunyemi, Grade 09
“This will help my life because I will teach others integrity as how to use it like my classmates, I suggest that Livingstones should please, please, please, and please open a school ”
-Sarah Pius, Grade 07
Adaye shares his story below in his own words:
In Côte d’Ivoire, the Coronavirus Pandemic has been particularly virulent at the educational and social level. Already affected by teachers’ strikes and conflicts between students, the Ivorian education system was negatively affected by the pandemic to such an extent that the Ministry decreed a cessation of classes for more than two months. It is in this context that several students, particularly those in the final year of high school, who were supposed to take their exams in July 2020, found themselves abandoned and without resources.
Being aware of the difficulties that the students of the city of Abidjan were encountering with my guidance counsellor, we decided to set up a support and training program for all these students who could not afford home teachers and books and who wished to be able to continue their course in an educational environment while being able to do so without difficulty and to prepare their exams well. Also, the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, where students preparing for their SAT exams usually practiced, caused a lack of resources for those students preparing for their application for Fall 2021 school year, as the counsellor at the embassy Ms. Nina Toyo was no longer available.
This program we called Big Dream, allowed us to work with students from all over the city (about 100 students) to train them in academic subjects (Math, History and Geography, Philosophy, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology) giving them academic resources (books) and connecting them to volunteering teachers. My role at Big Dream was to provide Philosophy and SAT tutoring as well as to help these students who were preparing their application to be able to present the best application under these circumstances.
After almost 3 months of intense training, the ministry decided to offer courses on television which was very effective because they were poorly programmed and delivered, but fortunately our students were well trained and had acquired the necessary materials and knowledge for their different exams. On August 14, 2020,the proclamation of the results of the exam was favourable for almost sixty of them who even got a special mention, as for those who took the SAT, their score ranged from1280 to1420. They were able to build a good and strong application and apply to their colleges.
Finally, paradoxically for this project, I worked with eight students who were applying to African Leadership Academy, coaching them, giving feedback on their essays and providing strategies for presenting themselves as best they could. So far, two of the students were selected as finalists for the ED1 decisions and another three have now been selected as finalists in the ED2 decisions.
It is my opinion that the Pandemic should not be an excuse for us to give up and procrastinate. Through these different initiatives I have made an impact and changed the lives of my peers.
We look forward to welcoming these inspirational leaders and education entrepreneurs onto campus in January 2021! Do you know a young leader like Yesua-Amen Alleluyanatha-Anozia and Adayé Sosthène Yvan N’Guettia? Nominate them to join our Two Year Diploma Program!